Queensland Deputy Premier Andrew Fraser’s civil partnerships bill has passed 47 votes to 40 to loud cheers from the public gallery.
The vote took place late last night. Labor MPs were allowed a conscience vote on the issue, while the Liberal National Party (LNP) voted as a bloc against the bill.
Fraser thanked MPs for their support.
“The civil partnerships bill aims to recognise the reality of human relationships,” Fraser said earlier in the debate.
“Who amongst us can deny [recognition of] long lasting committed relationships.
“Why should it be different for valid loving relationships of the same-sex.”
LNP Shadow Attorney-General Jarrod Bleiji, the only LNP member to speak during the debate, said the bill was a “stunt” and not enough time for consultation was allowed.
“[The bill’s] nothing more than a stunt designed [to be] nothing more than a distraction to Queenslanders,” he said.
“Civil unions are not on the priority list in the minds of Queenslanders.”
Speaking in favour of the bill, Queensland Premier Anna Bligh said the bill was about human rights.
“This bill seeks to strike a blow against prejudice and strike a blow against discrimination,” Bligh said.
In her speech, Bligh borrowed pro-equality statements from former High Court judge Michael Kirby and rejected criticism the bill was not important enough to worry about.
“[This bill] is about dignity and respect for relationships that are precious in their own rights,” she said.
“It may not be a priority for every Queenslander, but it is a priority for people who live with discrimination every day of their lives.”
During debate, members who said they would support the bill included Murrumba MP Dean Wells, Pine Rivers MP Carolyn Male, Algester MP Karen Struthers, Burleigh MP Christine Smith, Toowoomba North MP Kerry Shine, Bulimba MP Di Farmer, Ashgrove MP Kate Jones, Inala MP Annastacia Palaszczuk, Brisbane Central MP Grace Grace, Cook MP Jason O’Brien, Yeerongpilly MP Simon Finn, Keppel MP Paul Hoolihan, Everton MP Murray Watt, Morayfield MP Mark Ryan, Mount Ommaney MP Julie Attwood, Springwood MP Barbara Stone, Stafford MP Stirling Hinchliffe, Waterford MP Evan Moorhead, Woodridge MP Desley Scott, Greenslopes MP Cameron Dick, Townsville MP Mandy Johnstone, Barron River MP Steve Wettenhall, Nicklin MP Peter Wellington.
Labor MPs who said they would not support the bill included Capalaba MP Michael Choi, Ferny Grove MP Geoff Wilson and Albert MP Margaret Keech.
Meanwhile, two MPs from Bob Katter’s Australia Party seemed to be confused about the bill before them, simply stating, “marriage is between a man and a women” before resuming their seats.
Independent Gladstone MP Liz Cunningham was among three Independent MPs who also said they could not support the bill.
“I don’t want to vilify anyone,” she said.
“This is not about equality, this is an issue about morality and values…it’s about respecting faith and core values.”
Independents Nanango MP Dorothy Pratt and Maryborough MP Chris Foley also spoke against the bill.
A group of around 150 people gathered outside Parliament before the debate to call for change.